State of Utah v. Roberto Joseph Duran Jr.

2011 UT App 319
Filed September 15, 2011

The Utah Court of Appeals held that the aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating factors in determining a defendant’s sentence.

While incarcerated in Weber County Jail, Mr. Duran violently assaulted three deputies. Mr. Duran was sentenced to serve prison time after his convictions for aggravated assault by a prisoner and assault by a prisoner. He appealed his sentence to the Utah Court of Appeals.

An appellate court does not overturn a trial court’s sentencing decision “unless it exceeds statutory or constitutional limits, the judge failed to consider all the legally relevant factors, or the actions of the judge were so inherently unfair as to constitute abuse of discretion.” Mr. Duran’s criminal defense attorneys argued that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to consider Mr. Duran’s rehabilitative needs and the remorse he showed for his actions.

The Utah Court of Appeals disagreed. The transcript from the sentencing hearing showed that the trial court considered both of these factors. The trail court recommended that Mr. Duran receive drug therapy and counseling for anger issues as provided by the prison and also recommended that he have “access to all of the benefits that the . . . prison system and the parole system have to allow [him] an opportunity to demonstrate” the “goodwill” he showed at the hearing. Because of the severity of the injuries to the deputies and Mr. Duran’s extensive criminal history, the Utah Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that the aggravating factors in Mr. Duran’s case outweighed the mitigating factors.

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